Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Just in time for our nation’s celebration of independence, a clever twist on one of America’s founding fathers has been unleashed at the box offices. Collecting a paltry $16.5 million in its premiere ticket sales, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2010 novel, leads viewers into a web that entangles history with the exaggerated supernatural world of vampires.
If viewers can slightly lower the level of expectation towards a Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) movie production and overlook the obvious and improbable historical inaccuracy, they can rest assured that the action and horror elements, though they may become lackluster with repetitiveness, won’t disappoint. There seems to be a growing Hollywood trend to bring teens and adults alike back to the past with the innovative reinvention of fairytales, classic novels and historical events. It is indeed rather difficult to make a period piece relevant, particularly for this genre. By semi-successfully appealing to bloodthirsty moviegoers with a historic horror thriller, this Tim-duo production can be genuinely appreciated.
With the premise structured as events recorded within the President’s diary, Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) is presented as an axe-slinging, vampire-slaying maverick with nothing but vengeance on the mind after the death of his parents. Gun in tote, he sets out drunkenly for blood and is later hired by Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) not only for the purpose of carrying out a vendetta but to ensure the all-too-cliché principle of saving the world. Accepting his appointed duty like a hit-man for vampires, Lincoln thus enrages the head vampire Adam (Rufus Sewell).
The weapon of choice eventually becomes a silver coated axe, because of course shooting silver bullets at blood suckers would be way too easy. This makes for satisfactory gory, slice, dice, chop and hack scenes in which no limbs appeared to be spared. The thematic wave of vampires continues to be relentlessly ridden upon by the silver screen.
Bekmambetov’s vampires remain without reflections and are sensitive to silver but have adapted to light while possessing disappearing capabilities and are compelled by “only the living can kill the dead” regulation, thus disarming vampires to kill one another. Surely disappointing for those who anticipated vampire on vampire action? In retrospect, slavery remained the main theme, lest we forget old Abe’s true role in history. While the emancipation of slaves was the apparent focus, the implicit statement hovers overhead, “we are all slaves to something.”
By incorporating a full cast ensemble, a savory alternative to historical facts is dished up as well as spiced up for viewers to consume. Yet there was an infuriating failure to execute the sex appeal factor by underutilizing super model Erin Wasson, who plays the vampire Vadoma. On the other hand Walker is surprisingly quite convincing as an ablatitious force who fights in a memorable ax swapping scene alongside Anthony Mackie’s character Will Johnson. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter with the same title, may leave one curious as to what other historical events can be embellished to wet the insatiable appetites of fans who relish in this current film trend.